What do you sell, old man? Well, stairways to climb down. How about stairways to climb up? Only to climb down; these sell the best. How so? Do you see that man over there, the rich one. He bought himself a stairway to climb up a couple of years ago. He set off well, then he wanted more, but he wasn't patient and became greedy. Along with his soul, he sold the climbed steps too; any moment he's going to realize that he's alone up there and will want to come back. Then he'll bargain with me over a stairway to climb down. Do you charge much for it? Only the small amount he still has.

(Translated by Dragoş Frangulea / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I / Corrected by Silvia Petrescu, coordinator of the translations)

Real Fiction is a collective project started in 2013 by Florin Piersic Jr. The concept of Real Fiction continued to exist as a Facebook group, after a volume of stories was published at Humanitas Publishing House. (In June 2021, the group has 6.650 members.) The authors write ultra-short stories, with the texts limited to 500 characters (in Romanian, so the length of the English translation might be a little different) - a flash-fiction exercise on a topic that changes almost daily. The group's coordinators are Florin Piersic Jr., Gabriel Molnar, Răzvan Penescu, and Luchian Abel. (Drawing by Adrian T. Roman)

Versiunea în română a acestui text se poate citi aici, în rubrica Ficţiuni Reale.

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